PBA Spotlight: Ryan Gourley

Release Date: 
3/1/2014

Ryan Gourley is a MS student at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), where he is concentrating in Behavior, Education, and Communication. He is active in the local sustainable food movement and sharing economy. "I see sustainability as both a desired outcome and an ongoing process. As an end-state, it's the world we all want to live in, where both people and planet are healthy and thriving. As a process, it means working together to set up and safeguard the systems that will get us there."

Ryan is founder of A2Share, a community organization with a mission to support and strengthen the sharing economy of the Ann Arbor area. It provides resources for sharing in our community, both online at a2share.org and through regular meet-ups. Working with a group of sustainability-minded students, A2Share is hosting the second annual "Ann Arbor Sharing Summit" on Saturday, March 22nd, from 11am to 3pm. You can find more details on Facebook and get your tickets on Eventbrite. There will be skillshares, a clothing and book swap, and representation from several organizations that work in this space.  And the whole thing is free!

A2Share's mission supports U-M's goal of reducing waste by 40%. "The University is currently competing against other colleges and universities in the nationwide RecycleMania challenge. Having participated in a waste sort as part of that, I saw firsthand that we're throwing away a lot of things that still have plenty of life left in them -- things like gently used clothes, books, electronics -- we even came across a brand new bag with the tags still on! If we adopted an ethos of sharing -- where rather than disposing of a perfectly usable object when we're done with it or letting it sit idle taking up space, we gave others access to it -- we would have a lot less waste overall," stated Ryan. The need to use less doesn't have to be a sacrifice. Ryan and others' work supports that there are ways to use less while getting more - such as by sharing our resources. What does Ryan like to share? "Oh that's a tough one. I would have to say, in general, books. Books are just better shared."